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So, I won’t bury the lede. This will be the last post on PrincipalFI.com. The site won’t continue to exist in its current form.
That’s objectively true, but sounds far more dramatic than it is. I do not intend to stop writing.
I wanted to let you know that I won’t be publishing for a few weeks, and when I resume it will be under slightly different circumstances. Details below if you’re interested – otherwise, look for an announcement mid-July.
The impetus for this change is a financial company that asserts trademark and intellectual property rights on a word that has several established meanings. I’ve received a number of contacts from their attorneys expressing “concern” that I’m causing confusion for their customers.
As I joked on twitter, they must be threatened by my dozens of daily visitors and the exactly $0 I’m generating. I’m also worried about their assessment of consumers they believe couldn’t distinguish the personal finance ramblings of a career educator from the products the company offers.
All that said, while it would be easy to make the financial company I am choosing not to name an evil villain – that’s not the sole reason I’m changing. I have no intent to confuse and certainly wasn’t trying to imply endorsement by the established company. And, it doesn’t seem like a good use of money/energy for even a limited legal dispute.
I set out in late 2018 to write about my journey and support other educators on the journey to financial independence. Other than that, I wasn’t entirely clear on what I’d write, who would read it, or how it would be received. It certainly never occurred to me that I’d have actual readers and there was a potential name conflict with a financial company. Whoops.
I’m surprised, thrilled, and honored that over 7 months I’ve had far more engagement and readers than I ever anticipated. While still small, the fact that I have literally thousands of readers each month is humbling.
After launching, I felt almost immediately that the “Principal” portion of my name was too limiting. I’ve held many roles in education – principal was my favorite, but not even my latest. I have educators in all roles reading and participating in my site. The variety of roles in the Educator on FIOR series is impressive! My writing is also not limited to principal experiences.
Also, let’s face it – not everyone has a good association with school principals. I loved about half the ones I worked with as a student and teacher. And, a 50% approval rate is probably higher than for most people. I’m also not thrilled with a logo that could be seen as a faceless white guy lecturing people about money. Good reasons to let the principal part go.
The site tagline of “Financial Independence for Educators” is also not representative of how things have developed. Undoubtedly a lot of my readers are educators. Surprisingly (to me) many are not. I will still always have the educator perspective at my core, but also don’t want to write only about education. The tagline itself feels just a little too narrow.
When I received the very first contact from the financial company I am choosing not to name it started the wheels turning. Could I keep the same focus of supporting educators while also opening up a bit?
Now, I have that opportunity. So, after a brief pause, I’m making a small change.
A Brief Pause
It feels strange to keep publishing when I know a change is coming. Unfortunately, I’m in the midst of a house sale and move. (The downsizing project is going well!) Then, I roll right into an annual vacation with friends. So, my ability to dedicate time to a transition is limited until mid-July.
Therefore, this will be the last post I publish here at PrincipalFI.com . I will be taking a short pause.
This part feels the strangest to me – I have held firmly to a twice-a-week posting schedule, with the occasional extra post. To step away from that, even briefly, hits at the core of my habit building approach. It’s also human to wonder if anyone will still read after a break and a shift.
I’ll start publishing again on July 22, 2019 at the very latest. I hope you return to read.
A Small Change
In the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a slight rebrand.
I plan to use a new URL, logo, and tagline. My current thought is:
Educator FI | Financial Independence from an Educator Perspective
Wow, can you believe that massive pivot?!?!? I’ll give you a minute to recover from the shock.
Look – I said it was a small change.
Importantly, it still maintains the core of my personal perspective and support for educators pursuing financial independence. It allows me to continue writing about personal finance and education without having to deal with lawyers – ha! Yet, it opens things up slightly from the current name.
I’m completely open to feedback on this if you want me to consider a completely different direction.
I expect the content and approach I take will be mostly what it is now. Readers seem to like the mix of education career information, personal journey, education geekery, and story-telling.
I want to continue sharing stories of educators pursuing financial independence. Connecting with passionate educators and sharing their stories is what I’ve enjoyed most. All of those interviews will remain, and I look forward to adding new ones. (Message me if you’d like to participate!)
On the backend, I’ll be porting the site to a new URL and setting up (hopefully) the correct redirects so any links out there don’t just break. I think this part will be relatively fast – I just need a bit of dedicated time to get it done.
I’m excited about the possibilities.
Feedback / Questions
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does the potential name capture your understanding of what I’m trying to do? Is it too bland or limiting? Would you suggest another approach?
Are there content changes I need to make or other things you’d like to read from me? More, less, different? Now’s the time to unload – I’m inviting it!
I’ve always tried to operate with the mindset that anything can be improved. Challenges become opportunities. This is a relatively small challenge in the grand scheme of things, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to do it right and better.
This is a small hobby that I’ve enjoyed more than I expected. I’m not ready to let it go.
Please leave your feedback in the comments below or contact me directly. Thank you for any thoughts you have.
Thanks, and I look forward to announcing and launching in just a few weeks. Most of all, I appreciate your readership over the past 7 months.